ProLiant DL180 gen 9 vs custom build with Asus Z10PE-D16

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by Tim, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. Tim

    Tim Member

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    Hi,

    My Supermicro X9SAE died so I need a new server.
    I'm debating whether to build a new server or buy the HPE ProLiant DL180 Gen 9.

    My primary use for this server is as a vmware esxi server hosting pfsense, solaris,
    and a couple of Windows, OS X, Linux and FreeBSD vm's.
    I'm mostly doing web and android/ios development, some Adobe stuff and hosting my files for Kodi etc.

    Regarding the ProLiant DL180 gen 9.
    I have two main concernes, the first being the fan noise.
    The second being support for the new Xeon e5-2600v4 cpu's (most likely just a bios update?).
    I want the DL180 because it might be the choice for a production server for some of the stuff I'm developing.
    Thus being a great server for develop and test deployment.

    Any comment on the fan noise in general on this server?
    With my load (at home) the server will mostly be idle anyway so what's the fan noise at idle levels?
    I have a dedicated server room, but it's next to my living room so I can't have fans at 100%
    Are there any recommended replacement fans?

    Any comment on the server in general?
    What delay should I expect after Intel's xeon e5-2600v4 release before a new bios is available?
    I'll probably just buy two e5-2630v3 from ebay at reduced price for home use.

    It seems that it doesn't like third party PCIe cards.
    Their "sea of sensors" thing don't pick them up and the result is fans on full speed.
    My only need for a third party PCIe card would be a new HBA card so that I can build a DAS chassis.
    I'm looking into something like this:
    External JBOD SAS/ SATA Disk Chassis Wiring - Part 1
    And hoping that I can use a HP H241 HBA (good for Solaris with ZFS?) to avoid the fan problems.
    I'll come back to this later in another thread I guess.

    Also, I see that the SSD used is the Intel SSD DC S3500 120GB. Model SSDSC2BB120G4B.
    Do I need this model (any custom HP firmware?) or does it handle any SSD?
    I would like to use the regular non-HP branded Intel DC S3510 240GB, SSDSC2BB240G601 if possible.
    (cheaper and double the capacity) Or a better SSD option for the zfs zil and l2arc disks and the vm's.

    Regarding the custom build option.
    I'm not sure if I want do this at all, just too much hardware failed over the years.
    But I guess I'll try the Asus Z10PE-D16 motherboard, any comments?
    I've got an old (2011) Norco RPC-2212 but I don't trust the backplane.
    So I would need a new chassis with a decent backplane, suggestions?
    I'll prefer 3U with a regular ATX PSU to keep noise as minimal as possible.
    The single one benefit of a custom build is the noise.
    It will be more expensive than the DL180 (location Europe).

    Thanks for any feedback!
     
    #1
  2. Patriot

    Patriot Moderator

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    HPE has never not supported a speed bump... They generally release roms with a v2 version of the server...
    V4 is due soon and when its available the server will support it within a short time.

    You can use any drive in any HPE server, caveat being the raid controller will not be able to read health as the custom HPE firmware is designed with the controllers in mind. If you are using in AHCI mode, the normal drive stats are more helpful.

    You can theoretically crossflash any drive with the scsi flush buffer command, I am planning to try this in the near future on a M600 that I don't care about.

    I don't see why the H241 wouldn't be good with ZFS... its the same controller as the P431 less the write cache and that thing could hit 1m iops.
     
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  3. alex1002

    alex1002 Member

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    I would build my own. I personally dislike hp servers. Nothing but trouble for me. Why not replace board on your current system.
     
    #3
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  4. Tim

    Tim Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    "v2 version of the server"
    Does this mean they're releasing a new DL180 gen 9 "v2" server for supporting the e5v4 xeon? Or just a bios "v2" upgrade? Good to know that HPE will support the v4 cpu's shortly after release anyway. I'm waiting for the v4 before buying anything. If nothing else than to get a v3 for a bit better price.

    AHCI mode will confuse the "sea of sensors" as I understand it and put every fan in 100% mode.
    That's not an option.
    I guess I can't flash the HPE SSD firmware on "regular" Intel SSD's (I guess I can't get the exact model).
    It seems that whatever one does, there's trouble with the fans on this gen 9 server.
    I read somewhere that the internal controller needs a disk, or else it will trigger the fans.
    But surely I can disable it?

    Possible solution.
    If I bypass the internal controller and run the internal ssd's on a H240 in HBA mode on regular non-HPE ssd's.
    Will this trigger the "sea of sensors" and put the fans at 100%, or will this solve the fan "problem"?
    In other words, will a H240 in HBA mode with non-HPE ssd's trick the sea of sensors or put the fans at 100%?
    Likewise, using an H241 in HBA mode with regular non-HPE disks (non-ssd), same question.
    If not, I might just drop the DL180 all together.

    Any feedback on the general fan noise when the server is idle or under very light load?
    Ambient temperature being 17 degrees celsius.

    Custom build.
    I can't just replace my motherboard as I suspect the backplane of the norco to be at fault too.
    And the cost of a total new custom build exceeds the price of the DL180 with the same spesifications.
    But if the DL180 is too noisy I'll have to look into it regardless.
    Still, eventually I will need to invest in a production server and I thought that having the same one at home
    would be an advantage.
    If you don't like HPE, what brand would you suggest?
     
    #4
  5. Patriot

    Patriot Moderator

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    So the V2 version is the V1 version with all the roms updated and sold with V4 chips.
    V1s would still be available with V3 chips and require updates before installing V4 chips.

    Would need to install an OS and upgrade the ME and the UEFI roms before dropping in V4s.

    I will try and get a gauge on noise, but I am in a lab and it is loud regardless.
     
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  6. markarr

    markarr Active Member

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    It is the pci cards that mess with the sea of sensors. If you have an hp card and non hp drives it will function normally. There is custom firmware that has the cards report information to the bmc and that is what triggers the fans, no code in firmware fans = 100%

    Edit: Dells are more lenient on what cards they accept and the R720s that we had were as quiet as workstations.
     
    #6
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  7. Tim

    Tim Member

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    Thanks for the clarification on the versions and update process.
    Looking forward to any insight to the fan noise if possible.

    And thank you for verifying that it's the pci card firmware that triggers the sea of sensors thing.
    Thanks for the insight regarding noise on the Dell servers.
    I'll look into some Dell servers too, R530 and R730, even though both are more expensive than the DL180.

    If I can disable the default controller in the DL180 and use H240 instead I think that will be the preferred choice.
     
    #7
  8. Patriot

    Patriot Moderator

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    There is no default controller, it is the chipset with the SA raidstack ala bl140i or disabled for AHCI mode.
    The main problem I see you having with the Dell's or HP servers is fans and heatsinks. If you buy them as 1p you are going to have to hunt heatsinks and fans to upgrade them to a 2p.
     
    #8
  9. Tim

    Tim Member

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    Sorry, it's the b140i I reffer to as the "default controller".
    Ok, so the "disable" function for the b140i puts it in AHCI mode and not completely disables it.
    Thus giving me 100% fans due to the sea of sensors problem.
    Especially if I don't connect a drive to it as I understand it.

    I'll just have to abandon the DL180 gen 9 server I guess.
    This "sea of sensors" is giving me too much trouble.
    I guess fan noise in general is not a problem, but 100% fans is not an option.
    Unless I buy a HPE disk just to satisfy the b140i.

    I had hoped that the DL180 would be easier to customize.
    Well, no such thing I guess.

    Heatsinks for the second cpu I can understand. But I guess it's possible to find on ebay.
    But do they lack fans as well? That I didn't know about. Sill, I guess ebay is the place to look.

    The Dell options are close to the custom build in price.
    To find a good chassis with a reliable backplane is my main concern for such a custom build.
    Any recommendations? Is Norco quality better these days? Supermicro chassis better?
    An option would be to not use a backplane and drop support for hot-swap.
    Also, the Asus Z10PE-D16 any good?
    I don't like supermicro any more due to two faulty boards that also killed many of my disks.
     
    #9
  10. Patriot

    Patriot Moderator

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    @Tim I don't know where you get the idea that the fans will go to 100% with the controller in AHCI mode... They are both valid modes of operation...
     
    #10
  11. Tim

    Tim Member

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    Not sure if it's ok to link to other forums?
    But this is some of the sources out there on this problem with the DL180 gen 9.

    I guess linking to hpe.com must be ok?
    Customer advisory: c04683594
    HP Support document - HP Support Center

    This mention that:
    - The Hard Drive is running in AHCI or Legacy mode
    - No storage drive installed

    Will ramp up the fan speed. And mentions a upgrade (SPP) that I'm not aware of yet.

    Other places I've found this:

    "When I disable the onboard B140i raid controller and switch it to SATA AHCI mode, the fans will not run below ~58%."
    According to HP support this is normal, according to the same person.
    "Even 100% fann speed is considered to be normal" in that situation according to HP support (again, the same source).

    "When the systems are put in ACHI mode or a PCI card is added the fans ramp up.
    When systems with the "B" series Smart Array are put into AHCI mode,
    iLO can no longer read the temp sensor on the controller."
    (thus ramping the fans up to 60%-100%)

    The reason for wanting AHCI mode is to get a "clean" path to the disks for ZFS to function properly.
    That was mostly a concern for the h240/h241 in HBA mode, I hope that's not the case any more.
    But I would like the b140i to not trigger this fan problem too.
    And run the vm's from the internal disks in AHCI mode (with non-HP ssd disks to keep cost down at home).

    So far I understand that non-hp disks will not trigger any fan problems.
    But, the b140i in AHCI mode will, AND if I don't install a drive to it, it will also trigger the fans.
    So to use a h240 instead is not an option to bypass this problem.

    I had hoped for a SPP to fix this, but can't find any yet.
     
    #11
  12. Patriot

    Patriot Moderator

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    I have a DL180gen9 sitting next to me... I will get latest roms on it as that advisory suggest and get back to you.
    SPP is just a support pack with all the roms in an easy to install bootable iso.
    Service Pack for ProLiant| Hewlett Packard Enterprise®

    You can only download it if you have a server under warranty.

    That 3 or so roms that are pertinent can be downloaded without... SPP just makes it easier.
     
    #12
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  13. Tim

    Tim Member

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    Can you verify if the b140i in AHCI mode and/or with no disk on it puts the fans in 60-100% mode?
    If it's fixed that would be great!
    Thank you for helping me out here, making this decision a lot easier.
     
    #13
  14. Patriot

    Patriot Moderator

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    It runs at 58% till end of POST.
    No OS, no disks installed in ahci mode.
    Edit 1, one of those fans is an extra, let me pull it to make sure it stays quiet.
    Edit 2, yup stayed at 34%

    It was staying at 58% regardless with disk in before I installed the SPP.
    [​IMG]
     
    #14
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
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  15. Tim

    Tim Member

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    So we can be assured that with the b140i in AHCI mode the fan problem is solved.
    This is great news and thank you for helping me out here!

    Here's hoping that inserting a h240 or h241 card in HBA mode doesn't change this.

    Now I'm back on track to go with this DL180 server again.
    It's cheaper than the Dell alternatives and I trust it more than a new custom built server.
     
    #15
  16. Patriot

    Patriot Moderator

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    /me shrugs, I can throw a H240 and P431 in next week and see what it does... I would expect nothing changes.
     
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    Tim likes this.
  17. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    HP gen9 (at least dl380) will support v4, I don't know if it's any different or just firmware.
     
    #17
  18. Tim

    Tim Member

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    @Patriot, thank you for this excellent service.
    I didn't expect this much help. It's great to get all doubts sorted out.
    I'll wait for the v4 and order my server then.

    @Evan, Patriot has confirmed this earlier.
     
    #18
  19. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes so he did :)
     
    #18
  20. sthsep

    sthsep Member

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    In my workstation I use the Z10pe-d16 WS mainboard. I got and like also HP-Servers. I would myself just go with the cheaper option. If it is in the same pricerange I would choose the HP-Server. Because I use watercooling on my WS and I use it as WS, this mainboard was a better option for me.
     
    #19
  21. Tim

    Tim Member

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    I've been reading a lot of documentation the last days. So here's a formatted edit/repost of my last post.

    @sthsep
    Thanks for your feedback.
    In the configuration I want/need, the DL180 gen9 has a better price/performance than any custom build I can get based on the Asus card.
    A few years ago, a white box was better but the HPE ProLiant DL line has a very good price now.

    I figured out that the SKU ending on B21 was the "worldwide" available SKU and 425 is Europe I guess.

    Anyway, I got an offer for the DL380 gen9:
    SKU 752687-B21
    - e5-2620v3, 16GB, p440ar 2GB FBWC, 8 SFF, 331i four port nic, single 500w PSU
    USD 2,770

    Compared to the DL180 gen9 that I'm also considering:
    SKU 784106-425
    - e5-2620v3, 16GB, p440 4GB FBWC, 8 SFF, NC361i two port nic, dual 900w PSU
    USD 2,470

    I guess the DL380 is the best offer here.
    At that price difference I've no problem selecting the 380 over the 180.

    I downloaded the HPE Power Advisor.
    Looks like a system with one e5-2620v3, 64GB ram, p440ar, 14 hdd, 2 sdd will be fine with one 500w PSU.
    So no need for the 900w on the DL180 I guess.

    I would like to expand to 16 disks.
    As the p440 is an expansion card, am I right to presume that b140i is enabled as well?
    I would just need a 8SFF bay kit, drive caddies and the cables to expand to 16 disks?
    Or do I need a second p440 or a single p840 to controll 16 disks?

    I guess the fan noise from the DL180 would be the same for the DL380 as the hardware is the same.
     
    #20
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
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